BookOfTheDead - Setting Ryan Meade Straight

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BookOfTheDead - Setting Ryan Meade Straight

Post by EvilDeadChainsaws »

Swofty has drawn my attention to a post which Ryan Meade (director of Invaluable) has made on his facebook feed, making a number of bizarre and untruthful comments about me personally (it's now been bumped way down the page with numerous repeating posts), here is a link to the feed, and a cut & paste of the post below that;

This site, and the guy that runs it are not to be trusted. He has sent threatening letters to the home owner of the Within the Woods house. He has stated "He will do what he wants, when he wants, to who ever he wants and doesnt care about anyone involved" With no respect for the film, the trilogy and the people involved this guy cant be trusted. All because hes angry we would not GIVE him the contact info for certain EVIL DEAD alumni. Certain info is not meant for the fans! A persons privacy and well being are most important, and he does not understand this. We DO NOT support this site, or anyone threatening us to give up information.

Since commenter's to that post seem to be wholeheartedly believing every word, I thought I'd make a post here explaining things.

This all started when I wanted to film a follow up to my Evil Dead Locations DVD in Michighan, touring the locations there, but the major location to get was the Within The Woods house, I didn't know where that was. Though a mutual friend, then directly via email, Ryan and I chatted fairly affably about me going to the Within The Woods house with him once Invaluable had been released. I said I knew finding the place was his 'baby', but what I wanted to do was simply film the location in detail. Quite different to what he did, and something that wouldn't be in direct competition to his DVD. Ryan said in an email;

"I'll blindfold you and take you tehre maybe...i mean this really. The guy that lives there has a family. So you want to come interview him, We'll blindfold you and take you there. You get 15 minutes to look around, then we gotta go back, i also cant promise the owner will want you in his basement unless there is cash involved. I also know where the meltdown house is in detroit off 6 mile rd...yet another blindfold spot id have to blindfold you...Ad you would have to sign a release stating NEVER to make the location public infomation. ITs top secret shit, i know you understand".

I also chatted to Tom Sullivan about coming over to the house around the same time, as well as filming his Evil Dead museum (but he wasn't keen on that as that would all be covered in great detail in Invaluable). Tom also mentioned he'd heard Ryan told somebody he'd charge them $500 and need a blindfold to see the Within The Woods house, although Ryan told Tom he was being "facetious", which I didn't know what to make of.

Knowing from others how unstable and changeable Ryan can be (in the past sometimes I've contacted him and he's been a really decent nice guy, sometimes he's totally the opposite, completely down to his mood in the moment), and his mention of a blindfold (!), I really didn't want to put my trust in him, and wanted to hedge my bets if I was going to fly over from the UK to the US at the cost of about $2000 for the trip. I didn't want to take the chance of arriving at the airport only to find Ryan had changed his mind, so I asked Josh Becker (someone I'm friendly with) if he could try and find out where the Within The Woods house was. I knew that if I had the address I could probably come to some arrangement with the owner personally. Unbeknownst to me, Josh actually called Tom Sullivan to ask, and Tom told him where it was, which he passed on to me. So I had that. Then I decided to write the owner a letter, getting in touch with the owner and arranging things with them directly would be much preferable to dealing with Ryan. I didn't hear back from the owner. Tom also told Ryan that I'd asked Josh. Then Ryan emailed me out of the blue, irate that I had asked Josh, and had "gone behind his back". Then just a few weeks later I got a Facebook message from Ryan out of the blue, further irate that I had written the owner a letter, and that he never had any intention of taking me there. In that exchange I will admit I called him a Nutcase and blocked him from messaging me on Facebook again. You can read the letter I sent the owner of the house in full below;

I'm writing to you from London, England. It has taken me some months to track you down, or more specifically your house. As you may know, back in the late 70's and early 80's your house used to be owned by the Tapert family, and was used in the making of two films; Within The Woods (1979) & The Evil Dead (1981). I pieced together your location from vague recollections of friends among a number of The Evil Dead's cast & crew, along with hours spent searching on google earth, and a final bit of help to get your name, from a kind local resident.

I run an website called 'Book Of The Dead', devoted to three films which make up the Evil Dead Trilogy, which you can see at the following address;

In December 2012 I flew over from the UK and filmed footage in Western Tennesee and North Carolina using in the making of The Evil Dead & Evil Dead II, showing various locations used as they look today, which brings me to the reason for this letter. I'm intending on flying to Michigan for a few days early next year to do further filming. These include locations in Hartland and Ferndale. The trip however, hinges on your property, which is by far the most important. Would it be possible for me to visit you and shoot some footage?

While I'm of limited means and this footage will be freely available on my website, I'm appreciative that this is your family home. Therefore I am prepared to pay $300 for the opportunity. For this I would ask around 90 minutes to film a few shots from the outside of the house, a few inside, and some in the cellar. This will just be me alone using a small hand-held camera, so there will be no disruption and you won't have to move anything. The trip has not yet been booked, and can be scheduled at a date and time which would best suit you.

I also appreciate that you do not want other fans turning up on the back of my request, so I just want to confirm in writing that regardless of the outcome of this letter, I will not give anyone whatsoever your name, address, or any other information which could lead to your identification. In addition, if I am able to shoot footage, any shown on my website will be carefully presented with a warning to others not to seek you out. This was an issue which concerned one of the Evil Dead II 's property owners in North Carolina, and you can see how the warning was worded on my website near the top of the following page; ... tions.html

If it would make a difference, I can put you in touch with them just to vouch for my character, and confirm I am who I say I am. My email address is below, as are two telephone numbers (written as you would need to dial them from the USA, I'm 5 hours ahead of you), and my postal address at the top of this letter.

I look forward to hearing from you.

The fact that the owner contacted Ryan rather than reply to me (or mentioned the letter to Ryan when he contacted them), and the fact that I have no idea what Ryan told them about me, and judging by his post, he will likely have told them that I'm not someone they want around their house, all means that a follow-up Evil Dead locations film will probably never happen. If someone who does know the owners and reads this, maybe they can put my side of things and see if we can work something out.

I will admit that the glowing review of Invaluable I originally posted on my site was overly complimentary and simply self-serving, due to the fact that I needed Ryan's help. Once he had a go at me for the second time and made it clear he was never going to help me, I decided to re-write it to my thoughts at the time of first seeing it (which I wrote up in an email a number of people at the time of it's release, which others may post and verify). It now reads;

A few thoughts; While it is worth the $20 purchase price, there are a number of issues that prevent it from becoming the truly fantastic title it could have been. One big thing that stands out is that so much of the film is drastically over-exposed. This includes the majority of the photos shown, but many of the interviews are over-exposed as well. Further, it does begin to get repetitive towards the end, much of which is just repeating clips from earlier. There are some stylized jump cuts and vintage film overlays, but so many of the interviews just come across as poorly edited rather than artistic, jumping from clip to clip within an interview. Finally, the sections which many die hard fans will find the most interesting were reduced to throw-away shots; looking at all the surviving trilogy props and the locations. The material which was endlessly dwelled upon were the age old anecdotes and material which many fans will have heard before. There wasn't all that much insight into creating any of the effects themselves, how things were done, the materials used, maybe stories that hadn't been told before. A guided talk though Tom's travelling Evil Dead museum would have been a great addition for the fans around the world who have no chance of seeing it in person. Given the level of access Ryan had to both Tom, his original effects, and the locations, this seems like a missed opportunity.

Hopefully from the Five years of hard work I've put into, people will be able to make their own minds up. Given the amount of people involved in the trilogy I've interviewed for my site, I doubt I would have got as far as I have if I was behaving in a "threatening" manner, or if I "didn't care about anyone involved" or had "no respect for the film, the trilogy and the people involved this guy cant be trusted". If that was the case I wouldn't I be spending my own money to add scans of Evil Dead items to the site for all Evil Dead fans to enjoy, nor would I have spent a huge chunk of money so I could visit and film at the Evil Dead locations in Tennessee & North Carolina.

So there you go, that's the background and you can read both posts and see who you believe.
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